And One and a Bag of Chips

Mudpies and Fishfrys: Installment #4

So I was watching some people play some pick up hoops the other day… In the span of 10 minutes I witnessed five “And one” plays. If you’re not “in” on the basketball lingo: it’s when someone says the phrase “And one” at the moment they believe they are fouled while in the act of shooting. What “And one” means is that they would get a foul shot in addition to the shot they were fouled on. I don’t have a problem with the phrase itself. It makes sense. What I do have a problem with is the chronology of events.

This is what I witnessed:

Action A: Shot is taken

Action B: “And One” is yelled out (invariably with attitude)

Action C: Original shot is either made or missed

Do you see the problem? Exactly… Action B and C should be switched. The phrase “And One” begins with the word “And” which implies something very specific and unsaid has occurred. What is that something? THAT THE SHOT IS MADE. I have a real issue with the fact that at the time it’s shouted the success of the shot is unknown. Let’s face it, not everyone is Larry Legend with the licence to walk away from the money ball (mid flight) with a finger pointed to the skies. For the everyman it’s a very bad case of presumption. Presumption shouldn’t be accompanied with attitude either. It exponentially raises the chance of looking like a moron. I have the equation here somewhere…

I wouldn’t be surprised if I witnessed the following:

Snell Snapsandwich goes up for a layup. John the Giant blocks the ball and it goes into the second row of seats. John the Giants body collides with Snell thus fouling Snell. Snell yells “And One!”.

I contend that one should wait until they know with certainty that the original shot is made before they scream “And One!”. Take this as a tip. A favor. It was quite embarrassing to see that every time someone used that phrase they had missed the shot.

Think of it this way: Do you hear anyone shouting “And a bag of chips!” if they don’t have anything in front of them… just a bag of chips…? No, you don’t. That would be stupid. An act of idiocy. The proper way to use the phrase would be if you went to a sub shop, ordered a sandwich and soda and they threw in a bag of chips for free to round out the order. You could then say, “I got all of this… AND A BAG OF CHIPS!”. But you see… There EXISTS an “all this” (the sub and soda)… which precedes the bag of air with a few chips thrown in for poor measure. In like manner there should necessarily exist a MADE BASKET before the “And one”.

“Holiday Candy”

Mudpies and Fishfrys (Installment #3):

The day after Easter:  candy wrappers, multi-colored fake “hay” (which no doubt will be like Christmas Tree icicles and show up everywhere for the next year in the strangest places) and empty plastic eggs once holding a measly single piece of candy (most likely a Hershey’s Kiss) are all strewn all over the floor –  I’m left with one strain of thought…

Holiday Candy

I like candy. I love candy. I have some great memories in my life which are candy-centric. Those fake cigarettes with the fake smoke (don’t tell me you never rolled them up in your sweet sweaty white t-shirt). Bazooka Joe gum with the comic in it. The gum from packs of baseball cards (which ruined many a card… also how long is that gum viable? 2 minutes tops – that’s an example of exponential decay for you math nerds out there). Sky Bars (which flavor within the bar was the best? the marshmallow? fudge? caramel? peanut butter? debate). Fun Dip (was that stick made of chalk?) and Big League Chew at the baseball field. Wax soda bottles (good gravy what the heck was I thinking eating that?! might as well chew on a freakin’ candle). I digress…

When I think of holiday candy specifically I think of one word: WASTE. Let me proffer my reasoning by giving you an example from no less than three holidays.

1.) Christmas:  The Candy Cane






As a decoration I “get it”. But as “candy” proper –  I don’t understand. Nobody eats these. Nobody. (Obviously I’m exaggerating here, but my overall point I’m sure is clear). Think about yourself “eating” one of these.

MANY issues here.

#1: Where do you start? Choices:

a.) Start at the curve: Very uncomfortable – Very dangerous. Potential safety hazard when sticking it in your mouth. Some over-zealous individuals would place the whole of the curve in their mouth only to freak out (understandably) when they realize there’s “just a little too much in there”. What then?! They could potentially  “Gong Show” their tonsils. (you know… what happened to the people who sucked on Gong Show… yeah…)

b.) Start at the straight end: Well what happens when you reach the bottom (the dreaded curve)? And that’s not the biggest issue here (see #2)!

c.) Smash it to bits and eat it that way: Problem there is that there’s no best way of smashing it. No matter how you do it there’s going to be bits and pieces all over the place. You’ll have pieces on the floor, stuck on the bottom of your shoe, etc.

#2: Danger! Here’s a question that you’ll know the answer to if you’ve ever eaten one of these things: What happens after 5 minutes or so of sucking on a candy cane? I’ll tell you what happens. You end up with a freakin’ weapon that Jack Bauer would use to stab a terrorist in the throat clear to the back of the guy’s neck! Why the heck would you want that in your own mouth?! Insanity. If you’re not careful you could EASILY perforate your throat and your entire tongue. You want a tongue looking like a piece of swiss? I’m not signing up for that.

#3: The Size: Let’s face it. The Candy Cane is just too big. Let’s set aside the serious aformentioned issues for a second. Who finishes these things? After partys look in the trash barrels. You’ll either see WHOLE  (not even opened) or half-finished (at best) candy canes. Let’s be honest here. If anyone wants “a bit o’ peppermint” they reach for those single round after dinner peppermints. Not a candy cane. Why? Size.

Everybody buys Candy Canes but nobody eats them or enjoys them. WASTE.

Let’s get to the second holiday candy:

2.) Halloween: Candy Corn







Candy Corn is gross. Period. The taste is disgusting with it’s waxy consistency, foreign taste (what’s it supposed to taste like anyway?) and looking like a rotten fang from some strange diseased animal. Why would you eat that? Everybody buys it at Halloween but no one eats it. WASTE. Do you seriously think that kids go home after trick or treating and eat this stuff? You would be wrong. It is, like the candy cane, used for decorations on cupcakes and the like. I understand that. But guess what happens to them once a child picks up your wonderfully crafted Martha Stewart-inspired cupcake? They pull the disgusting little pieces from the cupcake and throw them away! Then and only then will they gorge themselves.

The third and last example:

3.) Easter: Peeps








Peeps. Ever take out a Peep and leave it out for 30 seconds then try to eat it? Hard as a rock. (What kind of “great quality candy” is that?!) That’s an issue. You have to rip open the packaging and shove your face in the box eating every peep as fast as is humanly (I use this word loosely) possible. For some people that’s not a problem. Well it’s a problem for me. Why? Simply put: I AM NOT A BEAST. I hear stories of people eating box after box of peeps. I feel sick for you all. Stop. You are all delusional. Let me shed some light on this phenomenon: At some point in the past there arose an idea:  “Peeps are cool”. Peeps were funny. They were the talk of college campuses. They would come up in ordinary conversations betwixt the everymen of this world. A perfect example of somethings “idea” being greater than the actuality. This happens all the time in pop-culture. So now people think that they need to expound the pseudo-virutes of the peep to save face and to maintain their status in whatever sick micro-society they want to find themselves comfortable in. Sad times we live in. We all know it. Will I be the only “brave one” to tell it how it is?! Shout it out loud! “PEEPS ARE GROSS!”.

I’m off to eat a Reeses Peanut Butter Cup. A normal and very tasty treat!

“The Infamous Ignoramous”

Mudpies and Fishfrys (Installment #2)

He is walking around on many a college campus. He is sipping on many a Venti Mochacchino at the local Starbucks. He is finding repose and shade under many a willow tree. At the moment, these are vague definitives which define many a person and/or personality. And so I persevere… He wears the grey woolen socks adorned with the presupposing orange stripe around the top. The visage of his hostings is due to the shabby (artificially weather beaten) sandals attached to his feet. This often than not bearded bloke, sporting Lennon-esque lenses, appears to be a throwback from the 1960’s decade of debacle and debauchery. In one of his hands he carries a tattered copy of Heidegger’s Being and Time. Apparently still not yet apparent. And so I continue… To intellectually fence with this fellow is to frequently fend off a flock of follies, as it is with many foes of this age. Yet, with this particular type of person, sophistical questions are continually raised which darken and hoodwink the atmosphere of what should be productive argumentation and discussion. It is as if a great cloud of dust emanates from the mouth of this intellectual babe forcing one to close one’s eyes in defense. And when the eyes are reopened and the dust has settled, the head of the lowbrow is still pointed to the heavens (at a 45 degree angle from the line of sight) with his chin firmly placed betwixt his thumb and pointer finger with the rest of his hand assuming the form of a fist. I’ve always wondered (not imitating the aforementioned “heavens glare/nothing’s there” formation mind you) what in the Sam Hill is he staring at? It is as if he is looking into the great beyond and into the land of great profundity only beknownst to him. What is not known to him is that his experience is delusionary. A chimera of epic proportion. A state of dementia at best. The madness is manifested in the sophistical yet far from sophisticated question that is asked by the individual non compos mentis. “But do we really exist?” is an example of such a question. The fact that this question is asked in a haughty aire and in search for a reaction of wonder from the listener rather than for it’s proper end renders it vacuitous. “The best works of art are utterly unconcerned with pleasing” (Goethe). The discerning mind realizes that the query is not stupendous but in fact stupid, often causing a state of stupor in many a conversation. The inquisitor flees from true philosophical questioning, imprisoning himself “within the narrow scope of what is ‘usable’ – precisely because he chases after novelty, and desperately, obsessedly, tries to effect and surprise by thought and expression and thus to contribute to a certain form of ‘higher entertainment'” (In Defense of Philosophy, Josef Pieper). Prima facie, this wiseacre, guilty of tomfoolery, looks to be wise and not a fool at all. Upon closer examination one realizes he has erred in judgment. The infamous ignoramous with his copy of Heidegger and his sophism stands small next to a young child with his copy of the latest Curious George (the great philosophical monkey) adventure with a genuine sweet tooth for knowledge. The child, in saying that “George is friends with the Man in the Yellow Hat”, is making a “pure philosophical statement worthy of Plato or Aquinas” (Orthodoxy, G.K. Chesterton). Perhaps the ignoramous, instead of staring into nothingness and in pursuing kudos, should cast his eyes down upon the child and take a lesson from the true purity of inquisition.

“Walk Loudly And Carry A Small Stick”

The section “Mudpies and Fishfrys” of my blog examines the peculiarities of typical (and sometimes atypical) tendencies of human behaviour. That being said… the following is the first piece of what I hope is to be many.

Installment 1 of Mudpies and Fishfrys:

We’ve all seen him before. The man with the purposeful stride. His back as straight as an arrow. Long, sweeping steps measuring multiple feet. His wide-eyed stare with a slightly upturned brow. His head turning side to side in rhythmic fashion. His head exhibiting the same pecking movement of the pigeon. He is the perfect embodiment of unbridled confidence. From where does his aplomb originate?

It is in the toothpick. Regular or mint flavoured. Square or round. Sharp or blunt. And idle it is not. It does not rest in its newfound damp, dank, humid home of the man’s muzzle. It moves from left to right in rapid succession often following the example and timing of the turbit thrust. If not on the lateral move, the pick of choice may have more of an elliptical or circular motion. This is not an enterprise for the greenhorn. Nay, it is for the expert. The first fiddle. The top sawyer. Novices must learn from the mistakes made in the days of yore. We’ll miss you Percy (see dedication).

Other items of mention which, when coupled with the toothpick, make for terrific tandems:

* The rolled up newspaper in one hand. And most often, like its superior, it remains not motionless. It strikes the other hand which is now palms up in anticipation of the said gazette. When this is done, it not only gives the feeling of confidence to the individual, it is also a neon light display of purpose. Now showing: “Man on a Mission”. This action must only be done at key moments when there is a need of a temporary confidence boost. This is due to the fact that the nature of this action is to be short in duration. It would be folly to disregard this. To do so would turn the short confidence boost into a protracted feeling of idiocy.

* The coat pitched over a shoulder and hanging on a crooked finger. Why else do you think this is done on the catwalks of high fashion?

This article is dedicated in memory of Percy “Icarus” Kipstein 1957-2001. Cause of death: multiple splinter wounds in the kisser due to overconfidence.